Berkeley event led by Milo Yiannopoulos faces setbacks amid cancellations, confusion


UC Berkeley was set to be the location for "Free Speech Week" starting on September 24.

Neither guest is now slated to participate, however, and the student group organizing the event, Berkeley Patriot, told the school on Saturday that it's canceled all of its sponsored "Free Speech Week" activities after being allegedly pressured by campus officials. Right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos says he is still planning to hold a "Free Speech Week" at UC Berkeley, despite reports that it was canceled.

Campus administrators did not immediately comment publicly on the matter Saturday, but representatives for the school previously said they was preparing for the event despite rumors of its cancellation. The three speakers plan to appear at Sproul Plaza at noon Sunday, along with Lauren Southern, Lisa De Pasquale, SABO and others, according to Yiannopoulos. The site doesn't name "Free Speech Week", but it does fall between those dates. Since February, four political demonstrations have turned violent with masked anarchists rioting on campus.

Faculty members are divided over the event, with many saying the university must defend free speech and respond to hate speech. On Tuesday, the Berkeley Patriot filed a civil rights complaint against UC Berkeley administration for allegedly suppressing the organization's First Amendment rights.

"It's time America had that showdown, it's time America had that debate, so I'm inviting today Janet Napolitano and Chancellor Christ from UC Berkeley to debate me and any of the other speakers they want to with a moderator of their choice on UC Berkeley campus anytime in the next seven months during my new Troll Academy tour", he stated. She said anyone can come to the open plaza to speak, but they can't use amplified sound without permission or interfere with the business of the university.

Yiannopoulos is expected to address the issue at a press conference in San Francisco Saturday afternoon.

Over the last few days, student bulletin boards on Sproul Plaza were papered with fliers calling on counter-protesters to "Shut Down Milo Yiannopoulos", saying his brand of inflammatory speech against Muslims, immigrants, women and transgender people was hateful and should not be allowed. The fliers advised supporters to bring bandannas to cover their faces in case police fire tear gas. They chanted "say it loud, say it clear, Nazis are not welcome here". One group carried a large banner that read "An injury to one is an injury to all".